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Young Marine Explorers

The University of Belize Environmental Research Institute (UB ERI) has successfully implemented the “Young Marine Explorers” education and outreach program aimed at promoting and fostering an appreciation for the marine ecosystems of Belize among upper division primary school students. This program, which ran from March 2016 to May 2017, gave Belizean students ranging from ages 9 to 15 a unique opportunity to experience the marine and coastal environment at the Turneffe Atoll and have first-hand encounters with the organisms that live within the atoll.

Through the support of the Fondation Bertarelli, UB ERI hosted an estimated 700 students at the Calabash Caye Field Station (CCFS) from 36 institutions in both rural and urban areas across the Corozal, Orange Walk, Belize and Cayo district. While at the CCFS students were engaged in a series of activities which included:

 An interactive presentation on the Turneffe Atoll Marine Reserve (TAMR) and the importance of research and monitoring within the TAMR.  Holding, touching, and having a close up look at marine organisms that play different, important roles for life below water, as well as, in our lives.  A beach walk/wade to encounter the seagrass, intertidal, and mangrove communities. This was followed by a trek through a littoral forest trail, as well as, a deforested area of the island.  Witnessing the effects of pollution on the beach and receiving an informal lecture on daily actions that can reduce the effects of pollution on marine life and environment.  A fish identification relay on the beach.

Below are some photo highlights from the program:

It is the hope of the Institute that all the “Young Marine Explorers” who visited the CCFS not only walked away as advocates for the sea and their creatures but that they are inspired to become Belize’s future scientists.

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